The latest in the long list of surprises: the stairs to the attic were constructed on top of completely worm-eaten boards. As a bonus, there was a dead mouse.
The latest in the long list of surprises: the stairs to the attic were constructed on top of completely worm-eaten boards. As a bonus, there was a dead mouse.

The floors weren't teeming with wood worm. Neither were the door frames, or the doors. The sceptic tank was a modern one of the double type from which almost clean water flowed, certainly not a plain, old tank with a mystery overflow. The wood stove was sufficient to warm the entire house, and it worked just fine, as did did the chimney (despite the 90° angle in the pipe). The toilet would flush turds, not be a turd. The sink worked and wasn't designed to expose the odorous world of the piping system. Nothing about rain that freely entered through the windows, the doorsteps and the chimney. The roof was water-tight. Oh, and it never freezes here during the winter, so you can grow pretty much whatever you want.

Were these conscious lies—misinformation by their agent? Or was the long list of omitted and incorrect information a symptom of the former owners' disengaged lifestyle? (All the pet piss and puke in the floor board cracks certainly was.)

Perhaps, an adventure in Portugal is supposed to begin with disappointment. Isn't that how all such stories begin? (Isn't that, in fact, how all good stories begin?) At least, the house really did become Annemarie's after signing the paperwork, unlike in some of those stories were it turns out that the seller doesn't own the house. There were even a few surprise ruins that were not part of the sales pitch. But, then there was also the big 200 m² ruined water mill that, yes, you would definitely be permitted to rebuild. (Not a word about the environmental protections that are in place to discourage building directly adjacent to natural waterways.) No matter that Laurelin's and Nils' plans with that ruin were central to the buy decision.

Carelessness taken to the extreme is recklessness.

The amount of deceit involved in the buying/selling game can be disputed, but there was definitely a minimum amount of carelessness involved. And too much of that can be dangerous, like when the only reason that you're not driven out of your house by the smell of pet piss and puke is because you're litting each next cigarette with the last.

Exhibit A: who cares about electricity?

When you have trees on your property that start to overhang the utility wires, you might want to get rid of them. Or, you can just go back inside, light another one, and it leave it for the next owner to deal with.

I'm climbing the tree to attach a robe. You might notice that I'm clamping the tree a bit nervously; I was unsure about its integrity since it has been deadly charred by the massive June 2017 forest fire.
I'm climbing the tree to attach a robe. You might notice that I'm clamping the tree a bit nervously; I was unsure about its integrity since it has been deadly charred by the massive June 2017 forest fire.
We continued the next day, with two ropes, alteredly tightening and firmly re-attaching them, until it seemed somewhat safe to start sawing.
We continued the next day, with two ropes, alteredly tightening and firmly re-attaching them, until it seemed somewhat safe to start sawing.

Exhibit B: Wim Hof in the house

Apparently, the previous habitants were students of Wim Hof (also known as the Iceman for his extreme cold adaptation). Otherwise, why would they have stated that the single wood stove in the living room was sufficient to warm the whole house? And the thing's chimney was so crooked that you couldn't turn it on unless your lungs were already asfalted.

Exhibit C: Speaking of the cold…

Knowing that Annemarie, Laurelin and Nils were interested in growing fruits, their chain smoking predecessors knew well to inform them that practically anything could grow in their little Ponte de Pedra valley; after all, it hardly got below zero in winter, they said. For Coimbra, the nearest bigger town, this holds true. For Cernache do Ponjardim, the town next to their valley? Not so…

Exhibit D: when it rains, it seeps.

It does rain in Portugal. When the first fall rains of 2017 made their appearance, at first, Annemarie and Laurelin were relieved; finally, the long, easily-ignitable drought was over. Locally, the soil and waterways would we replenished. Nationally, the precarious drinkwater situation was over. After their relief came… Dissappointment is not a sufficiently strong term for discovering that your roof isn't watertight and neither are your door and window stills.

Did it simply never rain before? Could the previous owners not imagine that their successors would be so squirmish about sharing their interior with the rain? Or, was this perhaps an exhibition of deceit?

Exhibit E: Don't make my old mother fight woodworm, you English fucks!

Potentially dangerous effect on fertility.

Exhibit F: Shit tank

Exhibit G: How to get the shit to the tank

Exhibit H: Ruined

Exhibit I–n: et cetera

Exhibit Deceit? Disinterest?
A Overhanging trees 0 1
B 🔥 Underpowered + smoky wood stove 1 1
C ❄️ Winter temperatures « 0°C 1 0
D Leaking roof + leaking stills 1 0
E 🐛 Woodworm infestation 1 1
F 💩 Shit sceptic tank 1 0
G 🚽 Crappy piping 1 1
H 📋 Ruined ruin 1 0
7 4
Taken together, it would seem that intentional deceit, more so than disinterest, was the decisive factor in the misrepresentation of the property by the selling party.